out of tears
emotions have been all over the place. not gonna lie, we spent the first couple weeks crying a lot! not only was the situation here pretty hard, but we couldn't stop thinking of our kids. each of them (and new son-in-laws) are in new/different seasons of their lives, and we wanted to be close to all of them. we're also missing the friends and fam that we deeply enjoyed during our year stateside.
while we knew God was bringing that sweet season to a close, we felt pretty miserable for a while once reality actually set in.
on top of that, no running water, no AC, a rough apartment, no language skills - and no clue what to do about any of it - left us struggling for sure. thankfully much of that eventually got dealt with, and we began settling in.
where's our meter?
for the most part, we didn't have running water for our first 5 days here. we finally were able to get a cistern and water pump installed and we thought our major water problems were over. until 2 days ago... when the water company came and took our water meter (literally cut the pipe and removed it!). they shut us off, saying the bill in this apartment hadn't been paid in 5 years. 5 years?! (of course i only figured all of this out after numerous trips up and down the stairs, calling translators, and finally sitting with our security guard navigating google translate.) and i still wasn't positive! lol.
so... another couple days without water, borrowing from nice neighbors, etc... but praise God it all got sorted out quickly and we got the meter returned. thank you Jesus.
je ne parle pas frances
french class is hard, but its been good. we are enjoying our teachers and classmates. it's 4.5 hours per day - so definitely information overload! it's a totally different method than we did with spanish, but really interesting. instead of using a book, curriculum, learning conjugations and memorizing verbs, the first 100-150 hours is only listening. then you start to listen and repeat - similar to recreating how a baby/child learns their native tongue.
phase 2 then gets into speaking and forming sentences, etc, but still no reading or academic learning. it's called the GPA approach for language acquisition. anyway, we are learning... petit a petit... :)
luci happier than ever
one of the most incredible things about this move is how much luci LOVES it here. her joy hasn't dipped at all since we arrived. hasn't cried once. hasn't complained once. its all God. otherwise it makes no sense. we left her sisters, brother, mimi and papa, all family and friends... and she is the happiest we've ever seen her. we praise God for this EVERY DAY. honestly, if she were miserable, crying coming home from school, etc - on top of everything else - i don't know if i could do it.
my wife is incredible. she always toughens up and says "yes" to whatever God has for us, whatever the cost. and she's always willing to follow me as i follow Christ.
this last month has been spiritual "game on"... and my wife is a gamer! my heart smiles as she dives in... struggling to get a taxi, shop the markets, and read food labels. she's a totally different person than when we did this 12 years ago in guatemala.
just like then, her world has been turned upside down. her friends, family and comforts of home stripped away. a true woman of God, she leans into Him fully, and He sustains her joy. up early every morning spending sweet time with Jesus, she gets refilled by the Living Water. i'm so proud to be the husband of this amazing woman.
grateful for bigger reasons
i am truly grateful. not only do we get to "pioneer" another academy and remain committed to the call to the unreached people group we've been called to... but God is also reminding us how hard mission work is - especially in the beginning.
which reminds us how important "missionary care" is. it was a big topic of conversation for us while we were stateside, and its being reinforced during this tough season. we want to be good at taking care of our missionaries. we don't want them to get so overwhelmed that they quit. we want them to endure over the long-term. a soft landing in the field is helpful, not like the one we're dealing with now. we want them to feel supported, cared for, have a team, and ideally a community.
the wehmeyer's will be joining us here late this summer. we're thankful that we'll have some basic things sorted out by the time they get here. it will be a softer landing for them and their 2 little babies.
most of all, its good to suffer for a while
i'm not claiming to be suffering in any mighty way. but its good for me to be humbled. its a blessing to be uncomfortable.
and its good for us to be the "newbies" again. wandering aimless and clueless, and sounding like 2-years olds when we talk.
its good (even though i hate it) to feel scared for my family's safety, nervous to run a simple errand, dirty and sweaty all the time, and feeling helpless and intimidated in basic situations.
it strips me of my rights and exposes my control issues. it reveals the needy, and smug, american in me. it illuminates my sin. ultimately forcing my full dependence on Jesus.
it helps me die to myself, probably the most underrated and disobeyed command of Christ.
its a painful process, but i am so thankful for it. it sharpens me, making me a better warrior for the kingdom. not to mention better husband, father, and man. but best of all it leads to deep sanctification and intimacy with God.
my morning abiding (time with Jesus, in the bible, in prayer, and in worship) has been sweeter than ever this last month. when i abide well, He puts it all in perspective.
times like these can easily be mistaken for the worst days (flesh perspective) when in reality they are the best days of my life (kingdom perspective).
1 peter 5:10, romans 5:3-5